University Research Shaping Sea-based Missile Defense
Posted on April 27, 2009 at 01:14:39 am
That was the assessment of leading public and private sector experts gathering recently at the university to assess missile defense following eight years of unprecedented federal support.
MSU's computational simulation and design group at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems uses their research expertise to assist the Northrop Grumman Corp. prepare future missile defense systems for deployment aboard ships and submarines. The campus conference, titled "Missile Defense Research and Development--Technology and Public Policy," sought to highlight advances in research focused on missile defense systems.
-ADVERTISEMENT-The conference was co-sponsored by the land-grant institution and the California-based aerospace and defense technology company.
"Our role is to provide simulation data and technology that will help Northrop Grumman design the most accurate and robust systems possible," said Dave Marcum, CAVS chief scientist.
The center's research on ship-based kinetic energy interceptors "will be crucial in determining next steps for more flexible and affordable missile defenses for deployed troops and allies," he added.
MSU researchers are using high-speed computer simulations to predict fluids flow, particularly related to such complications as simultaneous heat flow, combustion or other interactions.
The goal of KEI, the type of missile defense system on which the CAVS work is focused, is to hit a "bullet"--an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile, for instance--with a "kill vehicle" or warhead shot. Such a super-quick rocket has the highest acceleration booster ever developed by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
In addition to its high acceleration and maneuverability, KEI measures only about 40 feet long and 40 inches in diameter. This relatively compact size gives military planners many options about how and where to use it, whether on land or from warships.
"Modeling and simulation is critical to meeting the challenge of taking KEI to sea," said Anthony Spehar, Northrop Grumman's KEI vice president and program manager. "The full weapon system for KEI depends on accurate sea-basing requirements, accommodations and information."